NEC and PPC2000 contracts will offer clients the option of using project bank accounts from the spring

Two standard suites of partnering contract are set to include project bank account options from this spring.

Under the revisions the PPC2000 and the NEC family of contracts will offer clients for the first time the option of using project bank accounts.

Project bank accounts are designed to improve payment procedures and were recommended in the Office of Government Commerce’s guide to fair payment that came into force this month.

The PPC2000 project bank account option is part of a complete revision of the contracts, which will be republished in May.

The NEC said the release of the project bank account option was currently being considered by its panel but would probably come into force in March or April. The option will be embedded in all its contracts and was not part of a wider overhaul of the contracts.

A spokesperson for the JCT said project bank accounts were being reviewed by its payment review group. He said they would probably be included as a bolt-on.

The PPC2000 contracts, which are being fundamentally amended, will also include a price guide. This meant to encourage private sector clients, who traditionally avoid PPC 2000 because of cost concerns, to take up the partnering contracts.

David Mosey, a partner in Trowers & Hamlins who helped draft the PPC 2000 contracts, said the price guide will explain to clients the "open book approach" in the contracts.

He said: "There is a fear among some clients that open book means cost plus. In fact under PPC the team arrives at a fixed price at the end of the first appointment stage."

Other changes to the PPC 2000 suite include:

  • a guide on risk management, which links a risk register to the binding programme of works.
  • the addition of a shorter form of subcontract to accommodate subcontractors who are not involved in the design stage.
  • a public sector supplement covering data protection, the Freedom of Information Act and prevention of corruption.
  • a framework supplement for the Term Partnering Contract (TPC) which enables clients to use it as a framework agreement without having to make bespoke amendments.